Music
The Manchester Review

Maxïmo Park, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

We are giddy and overdressed. Our drinks lifted above our heads, we follow each other into gaps to find our place in the crowd. ‘It’s a sold-out show, you know,’ we say to each other. We do know, but it has to be said. It’s the requisite observation at gigs, meaning a rare second place […]

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The Manchester Review

The Japanese House, Gorilla, reviewed by Lydia Walker

The Japanese House: a band that have never been on my radar pops up in an email of new live shows up for reviewing. I conduct a quick Google search and find out that it is in fact the solo project of Buckingham’s Amber Bain. Who is Amber Bain? Turns out she’s collaborated with The […]

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The Manchester Review

Sounds From the Other City, Salford, reviewed by Luke Healey

The thirteenth annual Sounds From the Other City festival took place on 7 May, once again radiating outwards across Salford from the complex around Islington Mill. This area has continued to develop as an epicentre for the more experimental side of Manchester’s independent scene in the twelve months since the festival’s last installment, with satellite […]

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Marli Roode

Youngr, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Marli Roode

The day started in snow and ended in summer. That much you know. Summer was the problem; summer was what got you here, hungover and so opening the doors at every stop on the Metrolink home, trying to breathe in cold air and shuffle events after the gig back into order. Despite the shower, you […]

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The Manchester Review

Marsicans, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Lydia Walker

So I’m asked if I’d like to review this up-and-coming band from Leeds. I’ve admittedly never heard of them and I think, “Why not? Any live music is usually pretty enjoyable.” I agree, and that’s that for a few weeks. The date is approaching and I figure I should listen to some tracks and get […]

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Marli Roode

Bloc Party, Albert Hall, reviewed by Marli Roode

The roof is falling down. Or is it the ceiling? It doesn’t matter. We get what Kele Okereke means. He doesn’t need to be precise. All we know is plaster is coming down, landing on the stage, being held up, cheered. It’s evidence of “rocking hard”. No one rolls their eyes at his conclusion, or […]

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Marli Roode

Phantogram, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Marli Roode

I have a really good time at the Phantogram gig. A good time before it – on what could be described as a double date, but shouldn’t be, given the people and the amount of brinkmanship involved – and a good time afterwards (see above re being on a date). It isn’t until I come […]

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The Manchester Review

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, RNCM, reviewed by Peter Wild

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, RNCM, 19 November 2016 I want you to think about Superman 2 a moment. Specifically the scene where, having fallen in love with Lois Lane, revealed his true identity and voluntarily stripped himself of his powers, Clark Kent finds himself in a diner on the receiving end of a whupping. […]

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The Manchester Review

BBC Philharmonic, The Bridgewater Hall, reviewed by Simon Haworth

BBC Philharmonic, The Bridgewater Hall; ‘Tragedy and Humour, Darkness and Light’: Sibelius, Tapiola / Kaija Saariaho, Notes on Light / Weill, Violin Concerto / Britten, Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; November 5 2016.   Tapiola, Sibelius’ last great orchestral work before he finally hit the mute button and succumbed to absolute silence at his […]

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The Manchester Review

Parquet Courts, Manchester Academy 2, reviewed by Lydia Walker

Parquet Courts, Manchester Academy 2; October 10 2016. Debuting in 2011 with limited edition cassette EP release American Specialties, I’m not sure if Parquet Courts knew they would be storming festivals three years on, and releasing their fifth (ish) studio album two years later still. I say “ish” as their back-catalogue is eclectic: having already […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2016: Glynde Place, July 1-3, reviewed by Ian Pople

Suggesting that Love Supreme drifts further and further from its ‘jazz fest’ status is a bit like complaining that cats are fickle, or that policemen keep getting younger.  But the auguries weren’t good: Brexit, the wettest June on record, the M25 at its customary crawl past a load of aluminium sheds just a mile from the […]

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The Manchester Review

Alessia Cara, Sound Control, reviewed by Marli Roode

Alessia Cara at Sound Control, March 24 2016 After the gig, we went to a bar. I was worried about how I’d write about what’d just happened. My friend Zoe was worried about the state of the world, about the youth of today, about being out of touch and over the hill. She was worried […]

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The Manchester Review

Mariah Carey, Manchester Arena, reviewed by Marli Roode

Mariah Carey, March 18 2016, Manchester Arena (Photograph by David La Chapelle) Mariah is late. There is no support act – who is worthy of supporting Mariah? – and so we wait. So far, everything about the night reminds me of a hen do. Or, more accurately, a parody of a hen do on a […]

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The Manchester Review

GoGo Penguin, Band on the Wall, reviewed by Lydia Walker

“Listening to jazz is not just recognising Gillespie or Coltrane, it’s recognising the philosophy of collective reinvention…and becoming part of it.” Funnily enough, I hear this quote by New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff on BBC Radio 6 the morning I am anticipating watching GoGo Penguin’s sell-out hometown show: one of two consecutive sold […]

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The Manchester Review

Julia Holter, Gorilla, reviewed by Luke Healey

You’ve probably heard something about Julia Holter by now. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter’s most recent album Have You In My Wilderness (2015) landed top spot in end-of-year lists compiled by Mojo, Uncut and Piccadilly Records, and singles “Feel You”, “Silhouette” and “Everytime Boots” have been rotated on BBC radio. 2013’s Loud City Song, Holter’s first […]

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The Manchester Review

An Ape’s Progress, Manchester Literature Festival, reviewed by James David Ward

Dave McKean, introduced tonight as “the man who wears many hats”, is a constant collaborator, working with everyone from Grant Morrison to Heston Blumethal, and is best known for his longstanding partnership with Neil Gaiman. He has produced accomplished pieces across a number of art forms, from his graphic novels, to his painting, to his […]

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The Manchester Review

Petite Noir, Deaf Institute, reviewed by Marli Roode

Conventional wisdom has it that Manchester is a city dedicated to telling and retelling its own story. That every weekend, countless clubs play music made in the city – made by the city, it starts to feel like – and everyone dances like Ten Storey Love Song hasn’t been on the playlist every weekend for […]

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The Manchester Review

David Bowie Convention, King’s Arms, reviewed by Fran Slater

Bowie and beer. That should be pretty much all I have to say, shouldn’t it? There can’t be many combinations more promising than a day dedicated to music’s most prolific genius and some dedicated ales brewed specifically for the occasion. There’s a fair few reasons that I can’t just stop there, though. Not least because […]

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Ian Pople

A Love Supreme, 2015, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme, Glynde Place, Sussex.  3rd – 5th July   There is a stunned silence around Glynde Place on the first Monday in July.  People wander from the toilet blocks, and back and forth from the Wide Away Café with a pinched look on their faces.  It’s not just that someone’s taken their holiday away, […]

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The Manchester Review

The Smiths/Morrissey Convention, The Kings Arms, reviewed by Fran Slater

The Smiths/Morrissey Convention, The Kings Arms, Salford, 12th April 2015 It’s a good thing The Kings Arms is a good pub. A great pub actually. But even in such a wonderful establishment, some may have balked at the long waiting periods between the events at this convention. With a minimum of one hour waiting time, […]

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Marli Roode

King Creosote, Manchester Academy 2

King Creosote, Manchester Academy 2, 27 January 2015 You remember the first time you hear King Creosote. ‘The internet sent me on a date and the guy gave me a lift home afterwards,’ the woman next to me says. Like everyone else in Academy 2, she is wearing her coat, both hands around her plastic cup of […]

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The Manchester Review

David Gray: The Lowry, Manchester

Rewind fifteen years and you’d find David Gray enjoying something of a heyday. White Ladder was well into platinum sales and, after three previous albums that had performed disappointingly, this small singer from Sale was suddenly something of a superstar. He was at every festival. On every television show. The album was one of those […]

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Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, reviewed by Ian Pople

Love Supreme Jazz Festival: Glynde Place, 4 – 6 July Love Supreme, now in its second year, promised bigger and better and, in some ways, delivered. The weather forecast wasn’t promising, and the driving drizzle that swept over the campsite on Friday night/Saturday morning didn’t bode well. Fortunately, Saturday was comparatively clear and the sunshine […]

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The Manchester Review

Love Supreme Jazz Festival: July 5 – 7, Glynde Place, Sussex, reviewed by Ian Pople

Well… Jazz with a lot of RnB/Soul thrown in. Especially on the Main Stage on the first ‘real’ day, Saturday, where performances started with the wonderful a capella Naturally 7 and, via Michael Kiwanuka, finished with The Bryan Ferry Orchestra! So calling it a ‘Jazz’ Festival was stretching it a bit, and other punters seemed […]

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The Manchester Review

Jose James: Band on the Wall, Manchester

by Ian Pople

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The Manchester Review

Jack White at The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool

by Janet Rogerson

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Ian Pople

Alice Russell and Combo Barbaro/Quantic: Band on the Wall

The combination of Alice Russell’s smokey tones and the South American inflected drive of Combo Barbaro proved irresistible to the packed house at Manchester’s Band on the Wall, on Friday.  Combo Barbaro put together by the Worcester-born but Colombian resident, Will ‘Quantic’ Holland, contained a Colombian percussionist, a Peruvian keyboard player, long-time Russell collaborator, Mike […]

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Ian Pople

Soweto Kinch, Submotion Orchestra: Marsden Jazz Festival

When Soweto Kinch moved into his ‘free-styling’ rap, he elicited words from the audience that came from the letters of ‘Marsden’.  The Marsden audience, part of the arc of Pennine post hippydom that runs from Hebden Bridge, through Todmorden, and Marsden to Mossley, initially gave him ‘melifluous’, ‘artisanal’, ‘sheep’, ‘dung’,  ‘energy’ and, finally, ‘Northern’.  Kinch, […]

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Simon Haworth

Album Review: Thrice, Major/Minor, 2011 Vagrant Records

Album Review: Thrice, Major/Minor, 2011 Vagrant Records Major/Minor is the seventh full length from Irvine, California based quartet Thrice, produced by Dave Schiffman in LA who had previously worked with the band as an engineer and mixer on the albums Vheissu (2005) and Beggars (2009) respectively. In their thirteen years together Thrice have been uneasy […]

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Nicholas Murgatroyd

Metronomy: 21st September 2011, The Cockpit, Leeds

If Metronomy are disappointed at having missed out on the Mercury Prize to P. J. Harvey, they fail to show it in this frenetic, joy-inducing set. From the chugging guitar and swelling keyboard of hypnotic opening track ‘We Broke Free’, it’s clear that this band that started as a one-man outfit recording in a bedroom […]

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Ian Pople

Stuart McCullum: Manchester Jazz Festival, Royal Northern College of Music

Last year on this page, I reviewed guitarist Stuart McCullum’s last performance for the Manchester Jazz Festival.  That performance was in the festival tent, and he was first on the bill with Trio VD and The Golden Age of Steam.  Then he was performing solo with laptop and electronics. This year, launching his new album, […]

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The Manchester Review

Fleet Foxes with The Bees

by Evan Jones

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Ian Pople

Pharoah Sanders Quartet; Band on the Wall, Manchester

Tenor sax giant, Pharoah Saunders came to Manchester on the first of May channelling the spirit and legacy of his great mentor, John Coltrane. The first half of the concert was all Coltrane favourites: Giant Steps, Naima and then, My Favourite Things. Sanders is obviously not as agile on his pins as he once was, […]

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Ian Pople

Raphael Saadiq: Stone Rollin’. Columbia

There’s a determinedly retro feel to much of Raphael Saadiq’s new album. The cover shows Saadiq in roll-neck sweater with drums and bass accompaniment playing at a party full of beehive hairdo’s, and preppies in bow ties. And much of the music harks back to the early Motown and Stax days. Tracks like ‘Heart Attack’, […]

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Jo Nightingale

Cat’s Eyes, St. Philip’s Church Salford, 14 March 2011

When I booked to see Faris Badwan’s Cat’s Eyes play the beautiful St. Phil’s in Salford I admit I was hoping for spectacle.  The Horrors’ frontman and his skinny jeans, playing with a classically-trained multi-instrumentalist, in one of the city’s oldest churches, with his big hair – it’d take someone much less gothically-inclined than me […]

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